Chicano Spoken Word Artist Creates Scholarship for Students

$500 awarded to a high school senior graduating in Spring 2018 for a poem dealing with social justice

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: August 29, 2017

Chicano Spoken Word Artist Creates Scholarship for Students

The nationally-touring Mexican-American poet David A. Romero has created a scholarship, "The Romero Scholarship for Excellence in Spoken Word." $500 will be awarded to one high school senior graduating in 2018 for their creation of a poem about social justice.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, and the first in his family to graduate from college, Romero says the idea to create the scholarship came from Latino empowerment comedian and speaker Ernie G.

"I did a show at Cal State Fullerton with Ernie many years ago, heard him speaking to the students about the importance of higher education, and, looking at his website later, I saw that he gave money to students so they could go to college. That's not something that a lot of people do. I was impressed and inspired. I started thinking about creating my own scholarship when the time was right."

Romero says he was further inspired by the President of Hispanic Alumni Council at The University of Memphis, Nestor Rodriguez, after a performance at the university for an annual banquet.

"Nestor told me all about his efforts to raise scholarship money for students at a school where Latinos/Latinxs are a new, but rapidly growing, population. I could see that raising money without a huge, pre-existing and active alumni base to help all of these new students was a great challenge. But, Nestor was optimistic and his optimism was infectious. He believed in the students."

"That day, he successfully got me to pledge scholarship money. Eventually, he sent me a picture of the student who had received the funds I had donated. As I stared at the picture, I was moved, and remembered my earlier pledge to myself to start my own scholarship."

A resident of Diamond Bar, CA Romero has performed at over 60 colleges and universities in over 20 states in the country. His poems deal with family, identity, social justice issues, and Latinx culture.

Romero says that he considered creating a scholarship specifically for Latinx students, but that the focus of his workshops and presentations, as well as the number of Multicultural organizations that have booked him, guided him to make the scholarship as inclusive as possible.

"One of the workshops that I am booked the most for, Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice, features people who are Latinx, who are documented and undocumented, who are African-American, Causasian, Asian; who are mixed, who are LGBTQIA, and who have intersectional identities between all of these and others. Many of the groups and campus departments that book me for Last Words, as well as for other workshops, are just as diverse."

"I'm all about Latinx pride, but it's also the realization that we're all in this together. We have to help each other. Whoever is chosen for the scholarship, they will be a powerful voice of change for all of us. I look forward to reading everyone's work."

Romero says he plans to visit high schools that are local to him as well as to his father's alma mater, Roosevelt High School, in order to pass out flyers and get the word out. He has already started spreading the word through social media.

The scholarship, aimed at helping a high school senior attend college in 2018, is free to apply to. Students will fill out an application, submit a poem in a word document or pdf, and have a teacher or administrator write a letter of recommendation for them. Transcripts are optional.

Applications, poems, and letters of recommendation must be sent to or mailed to PO Box #5606, 1317 S Diamond Bar Blvd, Diamond Bar, CA 91765 by Tuesday, October 31st, 2017. Announcement of scholarship winner on Monday, January 15th, 2018. Check will be mailed to winner by Tuesday, January 31st, 2018.

The scholarship is open to all residents of the USA and its territories, whether they are documented or undocumented.

About LatinoLA Contributor:
David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. Romero has opened for Latin Grammy winning artists Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia.
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